"WILLEN, or WYLLYNE, is a small Parish, bounded, on the North, by Caldecot; on the East, by Moulsoe; on the South, by the Woolstons; and on the West, by the Linfords. It contains only 574 acres of land; and was, in 1712, assessed to the land-tax, with Caldecot, at 180l. 19s. 6d. The number of inhabitants, according to the census of 1841, is ninety-seven." [The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham, by George Lipscomb, 1847]


The following reference sources have been used in the construction of this page, and may be referred to for further detail. Most if not all of these volumes are available in the Reference section of the County Library in Aylesbury.

"Buckinghamshire Contributions for Ireland 1642", Wilson J., 1983.
"Buckinghamshire Returns of the Census of Religious Worship 1851", Legg E. ed., 1991, ISBN 0 901198 27 7.
"Dictionary of English Place-Names", A.D. Mills, Oxford University Press, 1997, ISBN 0 19 28131 3
"Magna Britannia: Buckinghamshire", Lysons S. and Lysons D., 1806.
"The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham", Lipscomb G., 1847
"The Place-Names of Buckinghamshire", Mawer A. and Stenton F.M., 1925.
"The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire", Page W. ed., 1905-1928
"War Memorials and War Graves: Milton Keynes and Wolverton area, Volume 6", Peter Quick.



  • War memorials in Willen have been transcribed by Peter Quick, and published in a booklet entitled "War Memorials and War Graves: Milton Keynes and Wolverton area, Volume 6", available from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.
  • War memorial details are also available online on the Roll of Honour web site.



In 1642 there were 26 people named in the tax returns for contributions for Ireland. Between them they were assessed at £4.17.2 of which sum Roger Nicholls esq contributed £3.0.0

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 13 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Willen.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 97 inhabitants in 15 families living in 15 houses recorded in Willen.

Census Year Population of Willen
1801* 97
1811* 78
1821* 83
1831* 98
1841 97
1851 98
1861 80
1871 76
1881 86
1891 86
1901 91

* = No names were recorded in census documents from 1801 to 1831.
** = Census documents from 1911 to 2001 are only available in summary form. Names are witheld under the 100 year rule.

Microfilm copies of all census enumerators' notebooks for 1841 to 1891 are held at the Local Studies Libraries at Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, as well as centrally at the PRO. A table of 19th century census headcount by parish is printed in the VCH of Bucks, Vol.2, pp 96-101.

Availability of census transcripts and indexes.

  • 1851 - Full transcripts and indexes for Buckinghamshire are available on CD-ROM, hard copy and microfiche from the Buckinghamshire Family History Society.
  • 1861 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.
  • 1881
    • Available on CD-ROM from the Church of the Latter Day Saints, as part of the National 1881 Census Index.
    • Available on CD-ROM for Buckinghamshire, with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from Drake Software.
  • 1891 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.


Church Records

The original copies of the parish registers for St Mary Magdalen, Willen have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1665 - 1980
Marriages 1666 - 1981
Burials 1666 - 1980

Copies or indexes to the parish registers are available from societies as follows:

Society Library*
Dates covered
1666 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society

* = material held in a Society library is generally available for loan to all members either via post, or by collection at a meeting

An ecclesiastical census was carried out throughout England on 30 March 1851 to record the attendance at all places of worship. These returns are in the Buckinghamshire Record Office and have been published by the Buckinghamshire Record Society (vol 27). The returns for Willen showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
St Mary Magdalen
40 - Afternoon General Congregation


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Willen which are provided by:




Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Willen has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



Willen was described in 1806 in "Magna Britannia" as follows:

WYLLIEN, in the hundred and deanery of Newport, lies about a mile and half south of Newport-Pagnell, on the road to Fenny-Stratford. The manor was anciently in the Paganells: in the reign of Henry VII. it belonged to the Hanchets, afterwards to the families of White and Nicholls. In 1657 this manor was purchased by Colonel Hammond, who had the custody of King Charles I. in the Isle of Wight: his daughter, in 1673 sold it to Dr. Busby, the celebrated master of Westminster school, who bequeathed it in trust for charitable uses.

The parish church, a small brick edifice, was built in 1680, at the expence of Dr. Busby, who gave a library for the vicar, and endowed the vicarage with the great tithes, which had been formerly appropriated to the priory of Tickford. He appointed 22 lectures on the catechism to be preached annually in this church, and vested the advowson of the vicarage in trustees, directing that they should nominate from time to time a student of Christ Church College, in Oxford, who had been educated at Westminster school.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP879412 (Lat/Lon: 52.062214, -0.719249), Willen which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

The name of Willen derives from the old english word wilig in a dative plural form, and means 'place at the willow trees'.